Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

reference

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun British English pronunciation: reference /ˈref(ə)rəns/ 
Word Forms
Close
singularreference
pluralreferences
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] a comment that mentions someone or something
    reference to:

    The title is apparently a reference to the singer's brother.

    make a/no reference to:

    He politely made no reference to my untidy appearance.

    passing reference (=a quick comment about someone or something):

    Her speech contained only a passing reference to tax reform.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] the process of looking at something in order to get information

    The sentences are numbered for ease of reference.

    1. a.
  3. 3
    [countable] a statement from someone who knows you or has worked with you that gives information about you. You often need to provide a reference when you apply for a new job
    take up a reference (=ask for information about a person you are going to employ):

    I don't think I've got the job – they haven't taken up my references.

  4. 4
    [countable] a number or symbol that shows someone where they can find information that they need

    Start your walk at map reference 2D.

    reference number:

    Please quote your customer reference number if you need to contact us.

  5. 5
    [countable] a word or phrase that comes from a book or a poem

    His writing is full of obscure literary references.

  6. 6
    [countable] a writer or a piece of work that is mentioned in a piece of writing by someone else

    There was a long list of references at the end of the paper.

Open Dictionary

endies

Employed but with No Disposable Income or Savings: people who are in work but only earn just enough to live on

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog